Mike Quade is finished as Chicago Cubs manager after one poor season. The Chicago Cubs announced the decision to remove Quade as manager on Monday. Cubs president Theo Epstein would be keen to hire Terry Francona, his former ally of Boston Red Sox vintage, as manager.
Francona would be the perfect hire for the Cubs. To the letter, Francona fits the criteria that Epstein sets for the ideal candidate.
In his eight years as Red Sox manager, Francona established himself as an excellent manager. The Red Sox had winning records in each season with Francona as manager. Five times in his eight years the Red Sox made the playoffs.
That's the winning track record that Epstein wants in a manager.
By the way, that's without mentioning the two World Series won by the Red Sox under Francona. Cubs fans would love to have a manager who can bring the Cubs back to the World Series.
Beyond that, Francona brought the Red Sox back from the dumps in the 2004 American League Championship Series to win the series and then led them to their first World Series title in 86 years. That Francona managed to rally the team from a 3-0 deficit to beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS—an unprecedented feat—is alone an amazing achievement.
Following that feat with a World Series title was tremendous.
The 2004 World Series speaks volumes about Francona's greatness. The Red Sox had struggled for 86 years to break the Curse of the Bambino. Several times Red Sox teams had bumbled in the playoffs before 2004. Francona managed the team that avoided those terrible mistakes in the clutch.
Dropping the monkey from the back of a team is the hallmark of a great manager like Francona.
Francona Could Break the Billy Goat Curse
Epstein could bring Francona to do the same with the Cubs. Francona would bring a winning mentality to the Cubs. He would bring the attitude that was absent this season when Quade directed them listlessly to a 71-91.
Not only that, but he would also instill the professionalism that Quade did not enforce as manager. Starlin Castro could find new focus under Francona. Francona wouldn't allow Castro to drift while at shortstop.
Francona might not bring the Cubs to the playoffs immediately. Aramis Ramirez may be headed out, causing them to lose runs. In a couple of years, the Cubs may develop new run producers.
Also, the Cubs will have to develop some pitchers. The starting rotation wasn't as deep as expected this season. Carlos Zambrano may retire soon.
Francona would have to endure the rebuilding process just like the rest of the Cubs organization. However, Francona would build the Cubs into a playoff team. Soon enough, Francona could bring them to the World Series.
With Francona, Cubs could forget about the Billy Goat curse some time in the next 10 years.
Cubs fans would love that.
Further, Francona has affection for the Cubs position. According to WSCR 670 AM Chicago, Francona has indicated interest in the Cubs managerial opening.
Cubs fans' ears should perk up at that sound.
Conclusion: Cubs Should Hope for Francona, Not Ryne Sandberg
When the Cubs announced that Quade is out as manager, they added that the next manager "must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level."
That means that Ryne Sandberg is out of the running. Even more, Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh tweeted that the Cubs notified Sandberg that he will not be considered for the managerial opening. On that note, Cubs fans should eliminate any false hopes of Sandberg managing the Cubs.
Thus, Cubs fans should forget about Sandberg and focus on the possibility of Francona managing their favorite team. Francona has a proven track record as a championship winner. Cubs fans should pine for the man because they can be confident that he can bring them to the World Series.